Worship Wednesdays #12

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope you’re enjoying this lovely week.

There will be some changes coming beginning next week. I am moving my blog from wordpress.com to wordpress.org. Basically that allows me to control my blog and content by choosing to self-host. This will allow me to grow and change as I see fit and truly own my content.

In addition, I am changing my design for the blog. My friend Erin Lauray is creating it for me as we speak and it will be uploaded on the new blog sometime next week. Keep your eye out for that! Make sure to follow on my facebook page or on twitter to keep up with the latest information.

I wanted to share a really great song by Jesus Culture that has been blessing and encouraging me lately. I hope you enjoy it – and may you be encouraged by it, too.

Jesus Culture – Come Away

 

The Case for Community

For many years I have prayed for a best friend. I have had many close friends over the years, but because I have issues of trust and struggle with relationships, I have always felt that I didn’t fully connect with many of my friends over the years.

In the last 6-10 months, God answered my prayers. But not in the way I would have imagined or planned for myself. I had the honor of becoming best friends with the wife of my husband’s best friend – but not in person, through text messaging about our husbands (LOL).

In addition, I met a few of my other besties online – through The Influence Network. Like me, they are women who seek to deepen a relationship with God and to make Him known in every area of their lives.

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{My crazy friends. Love them!}

Most of my close/best friends do not live near me. Several I have never met in person. Awkward? Maybe. But am I blessed? You have no idea.

These friends are women I trust with my life. My deepest secrets. They are people I can vent to, who build me up and correct me when I am wrong. Like I stated earlier, one of my best friends is married to my husband’s best friend. We share life together and are bound together by a calling so big it scares us and excited us both tremendously!

Why are intimate friendships & community necessary? I believe Hebrews 10 states it perfectly – that we are blessed when others come to us with a need. It blesses us. And it propels us towards good work, towards helping others for His glory.

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{Another gem from the She Reads Truth study in Nehemiah}

Getting into relationships like this is not apart of a magic formula. You cannot sit around and wait for people to come to you. You must be vulnerable, reach out and connect with others, whether online or in your local community.

Reach out online. Set up coffee dates with people from your church or from your workplace. It is awkward at first, but is so worth it in the end. It took me many years to get here – and it has taken work on my part. (And I am still a work in progress!)

And don’t be surprised if friendships change over the years. People grow and seasons change, and people may come into and out of your life. Be blessed in the now and thankful for friends past, present and those to come.

Do you struggle with building friendships? What are some ways you can reach out to build new/deeper relationships??

Be blessed,

When Waiting Sucks

Sometimes waiting just sucks.

We are in the middle of a lot of changes in our home. With my new job, our schedule has turned upside down…and it has been (at times) a rough adjustment for all of us. My husband has had to take on additional responsibilities while I work for a couple of hours in the afternoons when Eden is home from school. It certainly has not been easy.

In addition, we have been feeling/wading our way through another season of frustration in waiting for the next step. It seems to come in waves for us – periods of peace and trust in Gods timing and plan, and periods of frustration and feeling like we will never make it to step 2.

But the Word of God, my sweet brothers & sisters in Christ and worship music have all been a great blessing/comfort to me.

I posted this pic the other day on my instagram….it definitely shows me that our waiting period is for a purpose. “…waiting time is never wasted time.” MAN – God was pointing a finger right at me with that one!!!

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The She Reads Truth study in Nehemiah has had a profound impact on me. I think the book of Nehemiah is a preview of what is to come for my husband and I when we finally move to Arizona. It has blessed and encouraged me so much – and I am so thankful.

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And while I know in my head that everything will be alright – that God has a plan and is working it out as we speak. Sometimes waiting just plain old sucks – and I have to work through these seasons of frustration through Gods word and through prayer. I am reminded of a very important verse that gives me strength:

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I have to believe. God is good. Amen.

Blessings,

Content In All Things?

I am sharing this post on my friend Carly’s blog today, Texas Lovebirds. Go check her out!! She is amazing!

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{I took this photo during church this past week.}

I am one of those people you’d categorize as frugal. Cheap. Maybe even a tight-wad.

I adore the teachings of Dave Ramsey and I look for ways to save money.

You might even say I find some of my security in having money available. I am not talking SUPER WEALTH or anything. But just knowing I have something in case I need it, that gives me peace.

And for many years this has brought me guilt (okay, the Holy Spirit has convicted me). My husband is quite the opposite of me. He loves to give gifts to others and bless others in monetary (and non-monetary) means. I have always wished I could give that freely without feeling scared or worried that we might need that money down the road.

david platt quote

{Photo Credit: worthyofthegospel.wordpress.org}

Then this past Sunday, my church began a series entitled Content in All Things. My worship pastor, Brian, spoke last week, and shared the story of the rich young ruler from Matthew 19 –

Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” – Matthew 19: 21-24

Immediately, I became convicted again because I knew God has been working on me to surrender this area of my life to him. I have certainly come a long way. But this continues to be an area of dis-trust for me. In his message, Brian argued that one of the major issues facing Christians in the West is that we may be missing the mark in the area of generosity. He discussed how in the U.S. we value the idea of scarcity and attaining more things to equal ones worth as a person rather than being generous with others.

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{A favorite quote recently from Ann Voskamp.}

However, I don’t think this missing the mark with generosity necessarily means monetarily/material things only. We may be missing the mark if we hoard our money, for sure. But what about not being generous with our time? Our giftings? Our knowledge & wisdom?

Jesus asks us to forsake ourselves and live fearlessly for His glory. This means forsaking our agenda, our plans, our 401k plans, our savings accounts, our to-do lists, and yes….even our lives. And it is SCARY. It requires major TRUST because it involves great risk in the eyes of man.

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{Photo Credit: worthyofthegospel.wordpress.org}

One of the resources Brian mentioned in his message last week was the book Radical by David Platt. I have had the opportunity to read it, and it shook me to the core. David Platt does an excellent job of analyzing some of the issues/problems with the lack of generosity, lack of missional mindedness, lack of discipleship and community building happening in the current American church today:

“This is really the core issue of it all.  Do we trust him?  Do we trust Jesus when he tells us to give radically for the sake of the poor?  Do we trust him to provide for us when we begin using the resources he has given us to provide for others?  Do we trust him to know what is best for our lives, our families, and our financial futures?” – David Platt, Radical

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Ultimately, Jesus was communicating to this man [rich young ruler] that there was nothing he could do to enter the kingdom of God apart from total trust in God.  It is impossible for us to earn our way into heaven.  In the process, though, Jesus was exposing the barrier that this man’s wealth was to seeing his need for God.  His wealth on earth would ultimately keep him from eternal treasure. – David Platt, Radical

So, what do you think? Personally, I don’t think Jesus is calling everyone to sell everything they own and move into poor neighborhoods. I think Jesus is asking believers to lay down their choke-hold on their stuff and surrender fully to Him. This may mean you go through times of plenty or times of dire need. In both circumstances, give thanks and fully trust/surrender to Him. Allow Christ to lead you. And may you be encouraged by Paul’s account of the matter in Philippians 4 –

Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little”  – Philippians 4:11-12

Please take a listen to the sermons mentioned above. Listen to the one by Brian Wages first, then to Jeff Henderson’s second. In addition, take a listen to the song “Rich Young Ruler” by Derek Webb. It puts to song the message behind the story in Matthew 19. Extremely convicting but necessary for our growth as Christians.

Rich Young Ruler – Derek Webb

I am giving away a copy of the book “Radical” here!! I hope it can bless someone else like it has blessed me!

Living in Acceptance

Many of us have experienced some sort of relationship breaking apart. For many, that may be a once or twice in a lifetime occurrence. But for me…well, you could say this is a “thorn in my flesh” kind-of a thing.

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What I mean is….abandonment & loss of relationship has been a running theme in my life. From losing relationships with precious & loved family members, to loss of friendships, to church friends and other friends de-friending me on facebook.…I have learned well what it means experience a loss of relationship. Some of these have been because I was in the wrong, some had nothing to do with me at all and others were from issues done to me.

Even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud…” 2 Corinthians 12:7

But as I have aged, I have come into a place of acceptance of such things.

When I was in my mid-twenties, I was in therapy for some issues stemming from my parents divorce. One of the most profound things my therapist said to me at the beginning of my journey was, “You’re extremely angry now. But you must come to a place of acceptance in order to survive.” At the time I thought what she was saying was plain old ludicrous.

I mean….I was so mad that coming into acceptance of what was happening seemed like an IMPOSSIBLE task. But as I moved through the stages of loss and grief, I found my way into acceptance. Getting there was certainly a long journey, but living there? Another story altogether.

Living in acceptance means that you must daily forgive those who have wronged you, as well as yourself for those you have wronged.

Living in acceptance means you must fight the apathy and avoidance that seek to cut you off from authentic, vulnerable relationships.

Living in acceptance means you have to be willing to risk heartbreak and open yourself up to new relationships with others.

Living in acceptance means you must reject fear and embrace love.

I am not going to pretend that I get it right all the time. I honestly struggle with creating new friendships and relationships. I have been told by many people that I come off as cold, stand-offish and even bitchy when they first meet me (because of how nervous I get around people I don’t know and trust). I struggle with maintaining intimate relationships with those I love. I have a difficult time communicating how I really feel.

But God is faithful. He is using this time of acceptance as a means to grow me and use me for His glory. He is using my weaknesses as a means to bring others to Himself. And He is showing me it is okay to trust and rely on Him, and others.

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

I am getting there.

Blessings,

Worship Wednesday #10

Hey all!

It has been another busy week in virtual teaching world. I am sure hoping it slows down some in the coming weeks so I can return to blogging on a more consistent basis! I am hoping to implement some of my organizational strategies to help me get on track with blogging!

For this worship wednesday, I wanted to share some Gungor music with you. I have been re-listening to some older Gungor music and I am just LOVING their lyrics and musical stylings. (It doesn’t hurt that they are a husband & wife team, which just tugs at my heart!) 🙂

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I hope you enjoy worshiping today with these songs – check out my post later this week on some of my favorite Bible reading plans/apps, too!

May the Lord bless you and keep you, may He make His face to shine upon you, and give you peace….today and every day ahead.

Gungor – Beautiful Things

Gungor – Jesus and John

Gungor – Please Be My Strength

Gungor – Dry Bones

Worship Wednesday #9

As my work life has gotten quite busy these past few days, I have been reliant on the Lord now more than ever. The strength He has given me, the peace He has provided….it has been phenomenal. The precious friends who have graciously prayed for me as I sent frantic texts to them, asking for help….what a blessing.

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One of my favorite worship songs that we do at church is an amazing song written by Martin Smith, lead singer of Delirious?. It so touches my soul. It speaks of those struggling, who can find comfort in letting go and letting God take over. It speaks of a place of surrender.

I pray you are blessed by this song. Whatever you are going through, know He sees you. He has everything under control. You are loved.

Find Me In The River – Delirious?

Recent Events

This week is going to be pretty busy for me at work. I was just given about 90 new students that I have to call, discuss things with and then activate into the course. Each call takes about 7-10 minutes, so….you do the math. 🙂

I am really enjoying it, however. The people I work with are amazing, supportive and uplifting. My students and parents have been gracious and friendly (so far). Every question I didn’t know the answer to, I was able to find out and get back to them within the day, keeping them happy.

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{Photo Credit: Caryn Recker}

As someone who hates being on the phone, I am not on the phone ALL THE TIME. And I know God is using this as a way to build up my communication skills. I feel this is necessary as I move into a role of church planting in the future. I have a difficult time communicating, especially with people I don’t know well or trust. I have felt an overwhelming sense of peace and contentment as I have moved forward into this new job. I know only God can do that, because I am massively uncomfortable talking on the phone, especially with people I do not know.

This week is going to be a big week – lots of phone calls, but also I have some great things upcoming:

  • Tuesday, I am getting some head-shots/photos taken by my good friend Adam. He lives in New Orleans and came home with his lovely wife to visit family, and agreed to do some shots for me. He recently opened his own design & production company. If you’re in the New Orleans area, check him out!
  • Wednesday, I get to go out to lunch with some co-workers who live in the Jacksonville area. Since we are virtual teachers, we most often work alone in our homes. FLVS teachers host get-togethers monthly so we can get out of the house and work together or just fellowship. I am looking forward to a great lunch and a nice time of meeting new co-workers!
  • Friday & Saturday my church is hosting a “Wounds that Heal” conference, led by Dr. Steve Seamands. He is going to be teaching about bringing our wounds, hurts and issues to the cross. If you’re in the Jacksonville, FL area, please come out. It is free! 🙂
  • My husband has been after me to begin writing music with him. I have felt God speaking to me about faith and trust for some time. Please pray for me, that I might be open to God’s voice and write down what He has to say (and not force something to happen).

If you think of it, please lift me (and my family) up in prayer this week. It is a busy week, and I want to make sure I balance my work and family time appropriately.

Thank you all for your continued support and love. How might I pray for you?? Please feel free to e-mail me with prayer requests, even if they are unspoken.

Blessings,

Worship Wednesday #8

Since I am going through a season of transition while still waiting on the Lord for our future endeavors, I often find myself during the day feeling overwhelmed at frustrated. I don’t think that is uncommon, nor do I believe I should feel ashamed for feeling this way. I think this is apart of the process as God teaches me to trust Him and to rely on Him.

In the meantime, God has been using worship music (and His word) to bless me and to calm me as I move through this process and season of my life. One of my favorites lately has been “God I look to You”, sung by Jenn Johnson at Bethel Church in Redding, CA. I am linking a YouTube video below. Please take a listen. It will encourage you and bless you, especially those of you who are going through something similar.

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I pray God shows Himself to you today. I pray He uses you to be a blessing to others, too. Don’t forget to thank Him for who He is and what He is doing in your life! He is faithful! Hallelujah!

Blessings,

God, I Look To You – Bethel Music (feat. Jenn Johnson)

Happiness or Joy?

One of the biggest things I am learning in this time of my life is that I may not like every single second of each experience I am in. For example: as a mother of a young child, I am often told by other mothers or grandmothers to “enjoy every moment” because they go by quickly. While I understand and appreciate how short life is and how precious each milestone is, I am not sure that is achievable for mothers to do.

As a mother, I think Glennon at Momastery said it best in a recent column, “Don’t Carpe Diem.” She expresses how I have felt about this issue for some time. I can do the best I can, but I know and can guarantee I won’t be enjoying every single moment. Can I get an amen from all my momma’s out there?

And as a person, I have always struggled with this. I want to find the happiness and joy in every situation I am in. I want to be able to suffer well. To find the lesson in my troubles. But there are those days, where I am stressed out and sometimes I forget that I can cast all of my cares on Jesus. And perhaps it would be tempting for me to feel guilt or shame for not always reacting the way I should.

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But life happens. And I know Jesus loves me. And I can go to Him in my crazy, overwhelmed state and He accepts me as I am….and then He teaches me and molds me into someone who is more and more like Him.

What are you going through today? Are you struggling to be joyful “in every moment.” You may not feel it, but God will mold you and make you content in where you are with Him.

Blessings,

May this song encourage those of you who are struggling today!

Desert Song – Hillsong

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